Posts Tagged ‘Bioshock infinite’

They’re gunning for your hobby.This time, from the inside.

March 9, 2015

It’s been awhile, I’ve just started working a second job to support my “lavish” lifestyle. While I was busy slaving away for the man, apparently about two weeks ago, my favorite person in the world, Anita Sarkeesian, had some kind of get together with video-game developers in New York City, right in my backyard! according to a Kotaku article, Ms. Sarkeesian had a bit to say about how she wanted video-games to change or better yet “8 Things Game devs can do to make things less shitty for women” The list has been conveniently posted down below for you, dear reader.

  1. Avoid the Smurfette principle (don’t have just one female character in an ensemble cast, let alone one whose personality is more or less “girl” or “woman.”)
  2. “Lingerie is not armor” (Dress female characters as something other than sex objects.)
  3. Have female characters of various body types
  4. Don’t over-emphasize female characters’ rear ends, not any more than you would the average male character’s.
  5. Include more female characters of color.
  6. Animate female characters to move the way normal women, soldiers or athletes would move.
  7. Record female character voiceover so that pain sounds painful, not orgasmic
  8. Include female enemies, but don’t sexualize those enemies

On the outside, the majority of these make sense, I mean the smurfette principle is right on point, I feel the same way about token black characters who are just “there” and number five is great as well, I would love to see way more women of color in video games, as I stated in a prior article, they’re even more under represented than men of color who aren’t even really that present to begin with. Heck the majority of these are reasonable and like I said, I agree with a  few of them myself. So let me take a moment to applause and say that on those two points I definitely agree with Anita, bravo, you’re actually starting to make some kind of sense.

But let’s get down to the real nitty gritty here, real talk, people are still afraid of sex and the topic of sex in general.

Don’t over-emphasize female characters’ rear ends, not any more than you would the average male character’s.”

“Lingerie is not armor” (Dress female characters as something other than sex objects”

These two points and a few others got my eyebrows waggling as I slowly started to make a not so subtle connection

This all reminds me of America’s and the West obsession and fear of sex, any media historian who’s worth his or her salt knows that Sex and media in general have had a tumultuous relationship since the time that they were able to figure out how to put people on film and record the. From not being to show a couple sharing a bed together to how much of a woman’s upper body could be shown before it’s considered nudity. For decades film directors have gone on to challenge film censorship, pushing the envelope every time. Films like Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clock Work Orange with it’s graphic depictions of violence and Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Basic Instinct“‘ for it’s portrayal of Homosexuals and Lesbians as well as it’s approach to sex came under serious fire from critics and the general populace alike, Kubrick himself at one point, allegedly received death threats for ‘A Clock Work Orange’ , all because people felt offended by his vision.

At one point, 'Basic Instinct' had people people in a tizzy as well

                                             At one point, ‘Basic Instinct’ had people people in a tizzy as well

These films are just two of many  that  were controversial during their time periods and drew the ire of many a critic  because at their respective times, the images they depicted were only ever talked about in hush tones. The public railed against them because they were “offended” it battered their moral compasses, they were simply unthinkable. Now a days, a film like “A Clock Work Orange” would be considered tame, the only parts that I think would raise eyebrows would be the parts dealing with sex because…well America and the West in general have a serious problem with sex.

Let’s step away from films  and back to video games, I feel like there’s a movement being made, a movement where people who are comfortable with the games they play  are being shamed for the games they play and the developers who produce these games are being made to feel ashamed about what they make. We’re going backwards ladies and gentlemen, were as films and television have had their ropes of censorship loosened, gamers, developers what have you not, are having those same ropes tightened not by the ESRB not by misinformed parents, but by critics and the gaming media it’s almost like an internalized lynch mob to a degree.

Let me give you a few examples, last week it was announced within the Dead or Alive community that DLC costumes that oversexualized characters, would result in soft bans from tournaments. The decision was made to try and “legitimize” Dead or Alive, so to “legitimize”DOA, they had to make a part of the game, customizing the look of your character, a ban-able offense. Fans of Dead or Alive are no stranger to it’s overly exaggerated characters, heck there are three DOA games that aren’t based on fighting but on having key characters frolic on beaches, playing volleyball. This is a series of  games that have been the object of criticism since the early days of disc based gaming. Who is the competitive community trying to fool? or a better question, who is the competitive community trying to not draw attention from?

doa no

Moving on, NetherRealm studios, the developer best known for “Mortal Kombat”, a series of fighting games that were the center of the “violence in video games” debate during the mid 90’s. Announced that they were going to make their women more “realistic” as in toning down their busts and level of skin exposure…that’s “realism” in a game where characters literally rip their opponents head’s from their torso’s or freeze them dead in their tracks and smashes their bodies to pieces. Just who is NetherRealm trying to appease? their fan base has been around for decades and has happily been enjoying game after game that the studio has released. This sudden move to “realism” seems coincidentally tied to the current dialogue that’s been hammered into people’s heads from Kotaku and Polygon. “You characters are too sexy, tone them down or face ridicule”

The level of violence is acceptable but the range of cupsizes  aren’t ? Before I go on that’s one thing I’d like to point out, what is it with people being offended by fictional women who’s bust size is anything over a C? From Lara Croft of ‘Tomb Raider ‘ to Ivy Valentine of ‘Soul Calibur ‘ I mean really it seems as if as soon as you cross into DD territory, folks literally fall out of their chairs and onto their laptops to pontificate about how “obscene” a character is…just a little thing I had to throw in before I got into my next example.

Dragon’s Crown,

If you’re not familiar with Dragon’s Crown, it was a side scrolling arcade like beat em up that looked Dungeons and Dragons-ish. The big issue that critics had with Dragon’s Crown was with the designs of two of the game’s playable characters, the Sorceress and the Amazon. Apparently Jason Schreier of ‘Kotaku’ had this to say about the design of the extremely busty Sorceress

“This is the newest trailer for Dragon’s Crown, the Vanillaware-developed game that will be out this year for PS3 and Vita. It features the sorceress, one character from the game. As you can see, the sorceress was designed by a 14-year-old boy. Perhaps game development studios should stop hiring teenagers? At least they’re cheap, I guess.”

Apparently If I don't mind this art, I must be prepubescent right? RIGHT?!

                       Apparently If I don’t mind this art, I must be prepubescent right? RIGHT?!

(Source)

Mr. Schreier has long since apologized for his comments but the use of Ad hominem to make a point? I could literally go on for hours about how off hand comments like this are what makes issues like this almost impossible to talk about. This western obsession that correlates  anything inherently sexual in gaming must be only for prepubescent boys  is in and of itself sexist. I’m a grown man of 28, hold two degrees, TEACH as an adjunct and I had absolutely no problem playing Dragon’s Crown. The same went for the many gamers who went out and bought Dragon’s Crown and enjoyed it for the excellent game that it was.

Closing thoughts.

I have had such a difficult time writing this piece, there are obviously things that need some serious changes within the gaming industry and a lot of them have to do with how people are portrayed. I’m all for changes that will make the medium more accepting and open to people. However at the same time I can’t condone making someone feel bad for making or playing the games that they like. Where do we draw the line between what’s acceptable and what is out of line? when does it start to go from free speech to censorship? I do know that carrying on, attacking one another or making jokes at each other’s expense is not the way to go about things and that acting offended while actively offending others doesn’t bring about any positives either just more negatives.

I’ll leave you with this quote from  from Dual Shockers on the subject of the Dragon’s Crown controversy. I feel that his statement though made in 2013, still holds true in 2015.

“Ultimately, I find absolutely ludicrous that we’ve spent years upon years fighting the censors and defending our hobby from the pundits on Fox News, but now we’re turning into the censors ourselves. We’re becoming the Fox News-style pundits that ride on controversy. It’s ludicrous and extremely depressing”

He goes on to say-” We’re not exercising criticism, we’re not doing journalism. We have become the bullies we so fiercely fought against for half of our lives.”

What are your thoughts? do you think there’s an issue of censorship? are people being too sensitive? or is there a need for change? Can a happy medium be reached? Share in the comments section!

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Race in Videogames: Burning questions from the peanut gallery.

November 18, 2014

Today I received some intriguing questions in regards to the article I posted the other day you can read that piece here. Now I want you all to know I’m an open book, I tell it like it is and I’m open to discussion and all that jazz. That being said, I knew that I’d get some people who weren’t too keen on what I wrote about. Below are my responses to some questions that were posted to my link.The questions are Italicized my answers will be in bold.

“The question is why black people feel the need white people need to represent them then get angry when white people don’t do it right. Do.it.your.fucking.self.”

Looks like you have some anger issues there and I detect a bit of racism there with that “Get off your lazy asses comment”

First off, let me introduce myself.

I’m Bamidele Ojo Jr, I’m an Adjunct at a University, I hold a degree in Corporate&Professional Communications as well as a minor in Biology.I’m far from what you call “lazy” but I’ll say this, reading your questions I do believe I see who the ass is here.

I wrote this here article because of I got tired of chuckle fucks like yourself spewing the same bullshit rhetoric every time someone, be it a woman or person of color speaks up about issues in video-games.

Black Micheal Scott

My face while  answered these questions

“Devs make what they identify with if white men are most of the western devs it makes sense white men will be the most prevalent character.”

Sure that excuse would work if the developers still lived in the year 1955 and only developed games in a gated community with no exposure to the outside world. That’s the only time that whack excuse would ever fly.

“The question is why black people feel the need white people need to represent them then get angry when white people don’t do it right. Do.it.your.fucking.self.”
Oh golly another lame excuse! like my answer to your other burning question, that shit only works if you’ve never interacted with black people. We’re as varied as a people can come but if the same “joke cracking, trash talking,boisterous” Barrett stereotype is only what is used the majority of the time. I’m going to raise an eyebrow and start asking questions.

There’s a difference between Nathan Drake from Uncharted and Cole from The Last of US same goes for Allan Wake and Booker from “Bioshock Infinite”

When it comes to people of color, we’re lucky if we get a character every once in awhile that doesn’t sound like they’re a sidekick in some 1990’s buddy cop movie or a character that actually has some depth to him/her besides having “Jokes” and “Attitude”as his/her only repertoire. It’s 2014 not 1996.

There you have it, my answers to your whack ass questions.

Later!

I know there’ll be more of these and it should be interesting to see where this all goes!

9-2-5: “Where my Mechs at!”

April 13, 2013

Some new updates!!!

The Midnight Release. Then and Now and probably forever…

March 25, 2013

Last year I attended a midnight release party for Halo 4..it was at that point I decided to never attend another midnight launch for any game title ever. “I’m getting too old for this shit” is what I muttered to myself as I wearily drove myself back home to my bed to get what little rest I could before work the following day. I mean really I wasn’t there to cover or write about it..just pick up my game and go. Alternatively I could have simply waited till the next day to pick up my copy during one of my work breaks..but what would that make me? No! I had to be there at exactly midnight to pick up Master Chiefs latest adventure….

Image

Two hours from midnight and I’m sagging into the couch in the lounge area in a “TGI Friday’s” off of Route 17..tired and weary and surrounded by people who were much younger than myself ,I questioned my own logic “Did I really need to pick this game up at midnight?”.

The midnight release party has always  been apart of the industry for as long I can personally remember. I’ve been to more midnight releases than I’d care to list. All of them had been for a AAA title of some sort and nearly none for niche titles..which is to be expected since niche titles most likely won’t draw the same type of crowds a AAA title would.

The differences between the launch crowds involved in midnight release is where things get interesting..for the first Black Ops midnight release from what I remember, was outdoors in a parking lot and the lot was filled with literally a hundred or so people ranging from all ages and sexes.

A few years before that, I attended a midnight launch for Final Fantasy XIII and it was a far smaller engagement with far fewer people. This dichotomy in launches is indicative of what genres have taken over the American gamersphere and which are “in”. The yearly releases of Call of Duty have shown no fatigue on the gamer conciseness and continually draw what is probably the largest fanbase to date.

Now you maybe wondering why I’m going on and on about midnight launches..why that’s because I’ll be attending the midnight release for Bioshock:Infinite. Personally I’ve never been into Bioshock, the closest I’ve gotten to getting into the series was my short stint in playing the spiritual successor “system shock”.

My knowledge of the series is limited as well as my interactions with the fan base which is mostly why I decided to attended the launch. Though this is more like a safari to me..A chance to sample a bit of the culture which is the Bioshock fandom.

So as I ready myself to brave the foul weather and drive down Route 17 to wait with the masses for the release of a much-anticipated game, I can’t help but  think about my past experiences with midnight launches and how this one will compare and if I’ll finally “Get too old for this shit!”